Great Rift Blog

Colman, an African Mountaineer – Part 2

Posted by in Colman, Kilimanjaro, Mountains | September 07, 2016

I thought I would share some more stories from guiding on Kilimanjaro.  I have many I would like to tell, but I will only tell some here.  I will tell some stories in the next two posts so it is not too long.  Then I will write about many other things.  These are other stories I remember during my time climbing.  I hope you enjoy them.

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This is me as a young boy.

It was 2007 I had two clients from different countries, one from Germany (man) and the other from America (woman).  The woman weighed ~150kg.  She was a big lady.  We were climbing via Marangu route on a five day trip.  Normally a group of two clients would go with one guide and one assistance guide.  At the Marangu Gate the German guy says he will stick with the Assistance Guide so I stick with the lady.  It takes us thirty minutes at the gate for them to sign in then we start our climb at 10:00am.  The German guy arrived at Mandara Hut at 2:30pm, but the lady and I, we arrived at 9:30pm.  It was so slow after each two steps we made a stop.  After we arrived at Mandara, we had dinner and she went to sleep.  I was thinking she was going to give up because she was real tired.  But the next day I go to check her in the morning and she was sitting on the bed and she was smoking.  It was the first time to see her when she was smoking.  She did not even tell me she was a smoker.  I asked her how she was doing.  She says she was ok and she was ready to try again.  She had breakfast and we started to climb at 8:00am.  We arrived at Horombo Hut at 11:00pm.  The good thing for her was that she did not smoke on the way.  She smoked only at the camp.  The next day we started to go to Kibo Hut at 7:30am.  We arrived at 10:00pm.  We didn’t sleep.  We ate dinner and we started to go summit at 11:00pm.  We arrive at Gillman’s Point at 11:00am (normally we get there about 04:00am or so).  Then we go to Uhuru Peak arriving at 2:00pm.  We take photos and then we start to go down.  We arrived at Kibo Hut at 9:30pm.  No sleep because we have to go Horombo and we arrive there at 3:00am.  We register and we go to sleep until 8:30am.  We had breakfast and we start to go down and arrive at Mandara Hut at 7:30pm.  Then we called the rescue car.  We arrived at the Marangu gate at 9:30pm.  We got our certificates and then we went to the hotel.  She was really happy after getting her certificate and then the next day we had a celebration at the hotel.  This was one of the hardest trips of my all my trips on Kilimanjaro.  But great for her because it shows that anyone can be successful and she really tried hard.

In 2010 I lead a blind woman on Kilimanjaro.  It was June 2010 when I got a text from Deby.  She was a tour operator from South Africa and owned the tour company called Normadic Adventures.  She wanted me to lead 2 clients from Britain.  The lady was 57 years old and the guy that was with her was Peter, he was 60 years old.  We climbed on Rongai Route.  On the first day we started from Nalemuru Gate to Simba camp.  Peter lead her by having her put one hand on Peter shoulder and the other holding a stick (blind people stick).  Peter explained everything to her about the flowers, the trail, and every day at the camp he will help her with everything.  In Simba camp we discussed it with Peter and we agreed I will lead the lady during the day, and Peter he will take all responsibilities at the camp.  We did this up to the School Hut.  We had a private summit were we started late in the morning at 5:00am.  We arrive at the summit at 12:00pm.  She was very happy.  She touched the board at Uhuru Peak and she started to cry.  After a photo, we went down and had lunch at Kibo Hut.  Peter says he wanted to go to Mawenzi Tarn Hut to see the view of Mawenzi Peak on the other side and the lady and I would go down to Horombo Hut via the saddle.  On the way down to Horombo the lady started to complain about the trail.  She says that it was very easy and she want to do something harder!  I told her there is no other trail!  We arrived at the Horombo and took her to her tent.  After half an hour, Peter arrived and she complained the same thing.  Peter kept laughing.  The next day we go to Marangu Gate.  At gate we got our certificate and then we went to the hotel.  The lady says she will come back to climb Kilimanjaro via Machame route and she wants to climb Lava Tower and Barranco Wall and she wants me to be her guide when she come back.  I hope one day she will come back.  She is an amazing lady!

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Linda on the summit with me.

Next week I will tell of one tragic story and one happy story.  I hope you will continue to read my stories.  Please let me know what you think of them in the comments and If you would like me to write about anything specific about my country or Kilimanjaro or anything!  Asante sana.  Thank you.

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